Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Spotted Ratings Plans for September

September is finally upon us. Doing some reshuffling of the deck this year, so in order to answer questions about some of this site's usual September features, I'm laying out the schedule for the month here.

Let's start with the bad news: I'm retiring from the daily prediction game The Question. I'm incredibly thankful for the level of participation in this game over the last three years, and that is the main reason that it lasted this long. But as I look for more time to work on other stuff, doing multiple individual previews per show (both this and Best Case/Worst Case) seems rather redundant. The Question was, at least for me, the less interesting and more stressful of the two, so I'm making a selfish decision and bowing out of that one.

There may be high demand for some kind of prediction game to continue, so I'll leave that up to you, the players. This could mean somebody taking on The Question as an unofficial comment section game, or it could just mean more people submitting their Best Case/Worst Case picks, or both. I might even help out with scorekeeping if something crystallizes.

Pretty much everything else you know and love about September will still be here, but it's being reorganized a bit. Here's a quick rundown:

Best Case/Worst Case: With no more The Question, the other individual show preview will now drop much like The Question did: on the day each show premieres. The only exception to this will be premiere week, since I don't want to have a friggin' dissertation coming out each day during the big week. So pre-premiere week will be something of an "undercard," just previewing the veteran premiere week returnees. And the Best Case/Worst Case posts during premiere week will only look at the premiere week rookies and sophomores. There will be one post toward the end of this week, tackling some of the newsmagazines and football franchises (since many of those premiere before pre-premiere week). And then it's back for real on Monday, September 14.

SpotVault Overhaul: Between now and premiere week, there will be an update to pretty much every page in the history of the SpotVault. This adds sortability and mobile scrollability, which will be staples moving forward. But there's also a ton of new information: half-hour breakdowns dating all the way back to 2001-02, lead-ins, as well as year-to-year trends for individual episodes (both vs. previous episodes of the show and vs. previous timeslot occupants). There's also quite a bit of updated raw data, info that was not in my archives the last time I touched those pages.

If all of this gets done in time, we will also update the War of 18-49 pages, making the Plus tables sortable and adding a button that will generate a chart mapping the show's Plus history. But it's possible that will not come until the fall dust settles.

Ultimate SpotVault: The aforementioned overhaul will pretty much take place on existing Vault pages, though we'll add some more seasons of older series down the line. The main new entries for the rest of this week are what I'm calling the "Ultimate SpotVault," which is one sortable table with every single episode of every season of a veteran series. This will allow you to use A18-49+ to compare individual episodes from different seasons. For this week (September 3-6), we're doing just eight of these (two per day for the rest of the week), but more of them will trickle through in the future.

The Fall Preview/Review: To set up Best Case/Worst Case and the fall season, we will spend the pre-pre-premiere week (September 7-13) breaking down how each network did on each night of the schedule last year and looking ahead to the new schedule. This is a slightly modified version of what I called "Schedules Plus Updates" last year, now arranged by day of the week rather than network. Those posts ended up serving as kind of a de facto fall preview last year, so this year they will be more explicitly in that capacity.

True Changes: Will have a little bit more later on the tweaks to the True formula and the second half of the SpotVault tables. This will probably show up around premiere week.

First Two Weeks: Though The Question dies, the First Two Weeks game lives on as it did before. Since there's nothing scripted debuting before Premiere Monday, this should premiere September 30ish.

As always, thanks for following along!

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